NIS America has come to be known for bringing many of Nippon Ichi Software as well as other Japanese developers' cult classic games like Disgaea, Atelier, Mana Khemia, Ar Tonelico, and more recently, Sakura Wars. The list can go on. What do all of these game have in common? Well they're pretty niche and definitely very Japanese in character, but their following are just as hardcore. NIS America knows their fanbase and so brings over games that we may never know existed if they didn't and now they're looking to do the same with anime, kicking off with the release of Toradora! and Persona: Trinity Soul last week.
Now we all know how bad the piracy issues are with the anime industry on a global scale. There are a plethora of streaming sites, torrent distributers and even direct downloads available and are very easily accessed by just about anyone with a good internet connection. Even so, NIS America is hoping to change that with the Premium Edition sets that they've introduced, all of which cost an economic USD$47.99 and can be purchased from the NIS America Online Store.
Let's take a gander at them shall we?
First up, we have the romantic comedy series, Toradora! I'm personally a real big fan of this one. Here's a quick synopsis,
"Toradora! tells the tale of Ryuji (dragon) and Taiga (tiger) helping each other confess to their crushes. From the classroom, to the pool, to a summer vacation house and even the school's culture festival...will Ryuji and Taiga be able to help one another conquer their emotions, or will a new bond be formed in the chaotic war of love?"
The set comes boxed in a lovely hard 11 by 7 inch package complete with two DVDs and an art book. The DVDs themselves contain the first thirteen episodes (that's half the series by the way), and are packed in slim covers that fits snugly in the box along with the art book. Regrettably there isn't much in terms of bonus content in the DVDs like making-ofs, behind the scenes or interviews - just the clean versions of the opening sequences. However, most of the bonus content is in the hardcover art book which is packed with plenty of artwork, character profiles, an episode guide and even interviews with the Japanese staff and cast.
The second series in NIS America's anime debut is Persona: Trinity Soul.
"An original story based off the hit Persona video games, PERSONA -trinity soul- examines the struggle of a family growing up amidst tragedy. A string of murders, rogue Persona users conducting experiments, and memories long forgotten wait for Shin Kanzato and his younger brother, Jun. The two return to their hometown, Ayanagi City, for the first time in ten years. Before even getting a chance to reunite with their brother Ryo, Shin finds himself entwined in these incidents, awakening his own Persona in the process, and facing off against his mortality."
Just like the Torodora! set, Trinity Soul also comes packed in a box with two DVDs containing the first 13 of 26 episodes. The full colour hardcover art book however is little bit different from Toradora's, featuring a lot more art, interviews a story book and even poetry. The story book segment is titled A Whale's Feather, the same title as episode 4, and features some lovely paintings bound to stir up emotions when read in tandem with the story.
Neither series has been dubbed, but instead features the original voice cast and English subtitles, which is a nice facet for the fans who usually listen to the Japanese voice actors as opposed to a dub anyway. Unfortunately, there's something off about the video quality of the DVDs, but NIS America is in the works of remastering them and offering replacements. Now that's dedicated customer service. In any case, as mentioned earlier both sets come with the first 13 of 25/26 episodes of the series, making the USD$47.99 price tag look very tempting and definitely worth it.
All in all, NIS America has done an excellent job in bringing over these two anime series. They certainly didn't hold back with the packaging and bonus content - the art book is to die for, at least for fans of either anime. Hopefully the issues with the video quality will be resolved, but other than that, NIS America's Premium Edition DVDs are definitely worth recommending for any anime fan. The second volumes will also come packaged with a ton of bonus items as well as bonus movies that have yet to be detailed. They'll be available for purchase in late August this year. In fact, you can preorder them as well as purchase the first volumes now over at NIS America's online store.
Here's to wishing NIS America success in the anime industry and to hoping they start releasing high definition Bluray editions as well. Upcoming titles include Pandora Hearts as well as Our Home's Fox Deity
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